Frequently asked questions

Here we've put together a selection of frequently asked questions. If you don't find your answer below, get in touch!


Employer queries

What is the apprenticeship levy?

If you’re an employer with a payroll bill over £3 million each year you’ll be paying an apprenticeship levy of 0.5% via the HMRC PAYE. This levy can only be spent on apprenticeship training and assessment for those that work at least 50% of the time in England, but the payroll bill covers all staff working across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For more information, please take a look at our apprenticeship levy guide.

Can I access training if I don’t pay the apprenticeship levy?

If you have an annual payroll bill of less than £3 million a year, you won’t have to pay the apprenticeship levy. Instead, the government will share the cost of apprenticeship training with you.

You’ll need to contribute 5% towards the cost of the apprenticeship programme with the remaining 95% paid by the government. This is called ‘co-investment’.

You could be eligible for extra funding depending on both you and your apprentice’s circumstances.

How do I choose the right apprenticeship provider?

With well over 2,000 different apprenticeship providers delivering training, selecting the right provider can often seem a complex and daunting challenge. However, selecting the right provider can be summarised into five simple but critical considerations that you should think about before committing to working with a provider:

  1. A strong track record – have a look at the provider and their history of delivery. Do they offer the quality of service you’d expect to see? Whether this an Ofsted rating, success rates of past performance or even experience of delivery
  2. Reputation – do learner and employer satisfaction rates indicate a strong commitment to success? Does the provider have a range of case studies or employer testimonials that shows their work? Is the provider a market leader with awards and nominations for their delivery?
  3. The geographical coverage to match your needs – Can the provider deliver the programmes you want and where you want?
  4. Cultural alignment – does the provider that you’re interested in working with match your own organisational culture? Perhaps share the same type of values and beliefs?
  5. Data management – can the provider robustly monitor and provide accurate reports of learner progress?
I need help with the employer’s apprenticeship service, who can help?

Realise can help you with the apprenticeship service. We have dedicated one-to-one clinics available for all of our apprenticeship employers. The clinics are held on Zoom and designed so you can have time with a specialist to walk you through exactly what you need to do. The great news about these clinics is that we can check what has been done, so it’s done right first time, freeing your time up.

We can help you on setting learners up, approving learners and even transferring learners from another provider. It’s free of charge for our apprenticeship employers to use and you can use it as many times as you like.

Click here to book a one-one-to-one apprenticeship service clinic with a specialist.

If you wanted to email your query you can do that too, email us at – we’re here to help!

Does the apprenticeship levy have to be used for new recruits and apprentices?

No, you can use the funds in your apprenticeship service account to pay for the development and training of any apprentice. You can therefore offer apprenticeship training for anyone, whether a new recruit or an existing member of your workforce.

How much does an apprenticeship cost?

Each individual apprenticeship programme is allocated to one of 30 different funding bands which are overseen and regularly reviewed by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Each funding band ranges from £1,500 to £27,000.  Therefore the cost of the apprenticeship depends on the programme that has been selected. Further details about the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education can be found through here:


Learner queries

How do I pay for apprenticeship training?

It is the employer’s responsibility to fund apprenticeships. This can either be done through a company’s apprenticeship levy or through co-investment, which is where the employer contributes 5% of the total cost of the apprenticeship, with the government paying for remaining 95%

What are the different apprenticeship levels?

The four main apprenticeship levels in England are intermediate, advanced, higher and degree.

What is an apprenticeship agreement?

An apprenticeship agreement is a written contract between an employer and an apprentice that spells out the terms and conditions of the apprenticeship.

Am I too old to become an apprentice?

As long as you are over the age of 16 and not in full-time education, you can undertake an apprenticeship. Many of our learners find apprenticeships are a great way to make a career move – at any age!

Which is better traineeship or apprenticeship?

There’s lots of differences between traineeships and apprenticeships. One of the biggest differences is the pay and the duration. Traineeships are not paid, usually completed in weeks, and offer no guarantee of a job once completed. Apprenticeships are paid, usually completed in years, and are designed to work alongside employment. We can discuss which option suits your goals and ambitions.

Can you help find me an apprenticeship?

Realise have a dedicated recruitment team who regularly post new vacancies. To view our range of vacancies visit, Don’t forget to check back often as we post new roles daily. If we don’t have anything in your area but we know an employer based near you that might be a great match, we can also share your CV with them if you give us permission to do so.

What is the apprenticeship wage?

As an apprentice, you’ll be learning a trade or profession that pays while you’re in training. This guide covers everything you need to know about the apprenticeship wage.

Is there additional support for learners?

The Learner Support Fund (LSF) is designed to help with the costs of learning, such as childcare, travel and equipment.